Presidential election in Brazil: Bolsonaro resists Lula [OPINION]


Tough times for pollsters! In Brazil, before the first round of the presidential election, last Sunday, October 2, they had largely underestimated the capacity of resistance of the outgoing president, Jair Bolsonaro, faced with the return of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, says Lula, his main adversary. Undoubtedly abused by the “hidden vote” of “populist” voters but perhaps also influenced by a certain leaning on the left, they had given former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva winner in the first round of Jair Bolsonaro. In most polls, Bolsonaro did not reach 40% of the voting intentions. However, the outgoing president won 43,2% of the vote, and Lula 48,4%. None of the candidates having reached 50%, a second round will be needed, the outcome of which, on Sunday October 30, remains wide open since only 5 points separate them (while all the pollsters estimated that they had at least 10 points difference).

Bolsonaro's score, which was said to be finished, discredited by his management of the health, economic and social crises which shook his first term, is not far from that of his election in 2018 (46%). Above all, he is in the lead in half of the states, including some of primary importance: 51% of the votes in Rio de Janeiro and in the state of Brasilia, 47% in the state of Sao Paulo, the most populous and the heart economy of Brazil, with 7 points ahead of Lula. The outgoing president, a former soldier, obtained his best scores in the regions of the center-west, the south (a region of large farms), the south-east, but also in the north-west of the country, in the state of Roraima, where Bolsonaro won 69,6% of the vote. The former left-wing president and former metal worker, for his part, achieved, with his Workers' Party, his best scores in the Nordeste region, which is poorer and more rural (the best: 74,2% in the State of Piauí).

The major error of the pollsters could come from their blindness to the rise in power in Brazil of “evangelical” Christians, overwhelmingly favorable to the Catholic Bolsonaro (himself close to these charismatic Protestants, including his wife). Polling institutes defend themselves by highlighting “the hidden vote” of right-wing voters, encouraged by the authorities not to answer them.

But political observers have noted for their part the weaknesses of Lula's electoral campaign, whose slogans such as “books and love rather than weapons and hatred” had a “care bear” side that was not very mobilizing. In addition, his campaign remarks glorified his two previous terms (2003-2011) but hardly opened up any prospects for the one he was running for. It is also difficult for Lula to make people forget his troubles with the law, which resulted in two convictions for favoritism and corruption, and a stay of 580 days in prison (between April 2018 and November 2019) – convictions canceled last year for vice of form, which allowed him to represent himself. In the first televised debate of the presidential campaign, on August 28 in Sao Paulo, which turned to the advantage of Jair Bolsonaro, the latter accused Lula of having led the government "the most corrupt in the history of Brazil ".

The result of the second round will depend on the carryover of votes from the electorate of candidates Simone Tebet (center-right) and Ciro Gomes (center-left) respectively who came third and fourth, with 4,16% and 3,04% of the vote. Lula will have to negotiate with them. There also remains a great unknown: the possible mobilization of the 30 million abstainers from the first round (despite the compulsory nature of the vote) out of 156 million voters.

But other electoral results are now certain, to the benefit of Bolsonaro's camp : at the same time as the presidential election, last Sunday, the voters elected the governors of 27 States, the 513 deputies of the country, and a third of the 81 senators. However, these elections offered the Liberal Party (PL) of the outgoing president a series of victories which ensured the “bolsonarists” the majority both in Congress and in the Senate and in the Chamber of Deputies. Even if Lula managed to win the second round of the presidential election on October 30, he would have a hard time with the governors and parliamentarians... "Brazil, like many other countries, in Europe or elsewhere, is facing to a real conservative wave, ”analyzes Olivier Compagnon, professor at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Latin America, interviewed by La Croix (link below).

Philip Oswald

source: La Croix

This article is published from Selection of the day.


Recent articles >

Summary of news for September 21, 2023

outlined-grey clock icon

Recent news >